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Newly Elected Artsakh President Stresses Constitutional Measures and Challenges in Inaugural Address

Newly Elected Artsakh President Stresses Constitutional Measures and Challenges in Inaugural Address

In his address, newly elected President of Artsakh, Samvel Shahramanyan, highlighted the constitutional provisions designed to avoid immediate presidential and extraordinary parliamentary elections. These rules, aimed at addressing a vacancy in the incumbent president's office during a transitional phase under martial law, serve to prevent such elections when a democratically elected president leaves office prematurely with unfinished pre-election plans.

Read the newly elected President’s speech here:

“Dear Speaker of the National Assembly and members of Parliament!

The Basic Law of the Republic of Artsakh proclaimed Artsakh a sovereign, democratic, legal, and social state and established that power in the Republic of Artsakh belongs to the people, who exercise it through free elections, referendums, as well as in other ways provided for by the Constitution and laws.

The norms enshrined in the Constitution provide for certain counterbalance mechanisms designed to ensure the coordinated and uninterrupted operation of all branches of government. The institution of the president has its place in this system, whose task is to take responsibility in overcoming existing challenges. To realize the latter, it is extremely important to soberly assess reality and dispel illusions.

Dear members of parliament, I am not going to set out the election program in its classical sense. It is evident that the purpose of constitutional norms regarding the election of a new president during a transitional period in the event of a vacancy in the office of the incumbent president under conditions of martial law was to ensure that if the president, elected through direct democracy, prematurely departs from office for any reason and their pre-election plans remain unfinished, the country does not immediately proceed to presidential and extraordinary parliamentary elections.

The latest phase of the Artsakh conflict, which began on September 27, 2020, and was frozen by a trilateral agreement on November 9, not only made it impossible to implement the election program of the current president, but also gave rise to a number of new pressing problems.

Therefore, in the current situation, a candidate applying for the position of president should focus more on overcoming the crisis situation, solving ontological, security and humanitarian problems facing the state. The main provisions of the latter and the envisioned outcomes of the proposed actions have already been discussed during meetings held with the factions.

I would like to thank all the deputies who took part in the discussions for the questions raised, opinions and proposals expressed, as well as concerns voiced.

At the same time, I thank all the political forces that nominated my candidacy for the National Assembly.

Dear MPs, the essence of the vision presented to you can be summarized in the following brief formulation: strengthening the state and maintaining internal stability, protecting Artsakh’s right to self-determination, ensuring its free life and security, promoting the economic development of the country, gradually improving the social situation of the people and strengthening the rule of law.

What challenges is Artsakh facing now?

Dear deputies, I am not revealing a secret when I say that the partial and then complete blockade of the Republic of Artsakh by Azerbaijan since December 12, 2022 has created a number of problems for the republic.

There is no doubt that the geopolitical conflict between Russia and the West and the Russian-Ukrainian war are influencing the current situation. This conflict is reflected in our region, considering the settlement of the Artsakh issue as part of the steps taken against each other within the framework of this conflict.

By reevaluating its security concept in light of post-war realities, the Republic of Armenia has effectively shifted away from its long-term role as the guarantor of Artsakh's security and adopted an approach known as the "peace agenda." The core of this agenda is the recognition of Azerbaijan's territorial integrity, including Artsakh, with the condition of safeguarding the fundamental rights and the rights of Artsakh Armenians.

In turn, Azerbaijan, taking advantage of the fact that international players have not taken objective steps, is gradually violating the provisions of the Tripartite Statement of November 9, 2020 and increasing pressure on Artsakh in order to implement its own “integration” program. At the same time, Azerbaijan continues to trumpet on all international platforms that the Artsakh conflict has already been resolved, that there is no such thing as Nagorno-Karabakh, and the issue of ensuring the rights and freedoms of local Armenians is an internal issue of its country.

On the contrary, prominent players in global politics are satisfied only by the daily increasing volume of concerns, exhortations and appeals. The implementation of decisions of international and European courts of human rights also remains incomplete. It is obvious that not a single international player is currently interested in applying harsh measures to influence Azerbaijan. Moreover, there is a belief that it is realistic to engage Stepanakert in discussions regarding the integration agenda.

In other words, we can state that the rights and legitimate interests of the Armenians of Artsakh are not protected within the framework of international law. Accordingly, I consider our ideas and expectations regarding international law to be unrealistic and divorced from reality, since it is obvious that international politics, geopolitics, even wars do not occur within the framework of international law.

The above leaves Artsakh no other choice but to try to find intermediate solutions based on the situation,” said the President of Artsakh Republic.

Even though Russia and the collective West hold opposing views on the conflict, it's important to acknowledge that there is global consensus on certain aspects of the Artsakh conflict, including the following:

1) The Artsakh conflict has not been resolved, as Azerbaijan claims, therefore Nagorno-Karabakh is a disputed territory that should receive a specific status.

2) Artsakh and Armenia must have direct transport links – the Lachin Corridor. Contrary to Baku's claims, the latter has been closed for a long time and should be opened. Other regional roads should also be launched, but they cannot replace the Lachin Corridor or be considered as an alternative to it.

3) Stepanakert should negotiate with Baku. Moreover, in this matter, both the Russian Federation and the collective West are ready to provide a platform and act as a mediator, which Azerbaijan is categorically opposed to.

The above-mentioned points are the basis for building Artsakh’s foreign policy within this framework. Therefore, the priority of the future president should be to transform Stepanakert from an object for resolving the Artsakh conflict into a subject of negotiations. At the same time, depending on the scale of the issues currently being discussed, the format of negotiations can be either multilateral or bilateral. The only mandatory condition should be the organization of negotiations by a third country with its guarantee of implementation of the agreements reached."


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